Tuesday 21 June 2016

Reviewing Our Camping Equipment from Outdoor World Direct

In just over a month my girls are going on their first official camp as Cub Scouts. They have been going on about this for quite some time and are on countdown, even to the point that they keep convincing me they must try out camping first and are taking over my house one room at a time for indoor camping.

When Outdoor World Direct heard that my twins needed to get kitted out for camping they were very happy to help us out and agreed to send me some items for review. I then spent a couple of enjoyable hours browsing their website and deciding what might work for the girls. I opted for a sleeping bag and self-inflating mat each and choose differing ones so we could really try them out and see where our recommendation would lie.

There is loads of choice on the Outdoor World Direct site and I found it easy to navigate as the menus are clearly set out. There also appears to be loads of good deals, with discounts off many everyday essentials for camping and outdoor fun.

Vango Standard Adventure self-inflating mat - This is probably the mat we would most recommend for a scouting type camping trip as it is very comfy, a fab bright blue colour, has a super easy self-inflate valve and is also really small and light for carrying. It comes with its on stuff sack, which it packs very easily into and measures just 55 x 15cm in the pack. Weight is just 1.54kg. When the mat is rolled out and in use, it is 183 x 51cm, with a depth of 5cm when inflated. It is a 75 denier non-slip polyester/ pvc top and base with a laminated, open-cell foam insulation which provides extra warmth. There is a repair kit included too.

Vango take great pride in the fact that their mats meet the European REACH standard and have been approved by the Scouting Association. This mat retails for £32.50 but I see there is a bargain on Outdoor World Direct at the moment as the same mat, but the XL version is just £29.99 right now.

As this Vango mat is Scouting approved JJ took it with him for his May water camp and it was certainly novel to hear him tell me he fell asleep about 10.30pm each night and overslept each morning, to the point he was late for breakfast.  I'll call that a win for the Vango mat, it must have made for a very comfy nights sleep as he is normally up half the night when on camp.

The blue mat is the Vango and the green is the larger Coleman one

Coleman Camper Inflator Mat, Comfort Single - The other self- inflating mat we ordered is the more luxurious one as it inflates to a depth of 7.5cm, it is also wider and longer than the Vango standard one. The outer shell is polyester and the inner is polyyurethane foam which gives a really comfortable base for sleeping upon. The valve gives fast and easy inflation and deflation and it was pretty easy to roll and use the compression straps to then put it in its carry sack. I have to say I was quite surprised at this as it is quite a size, but I was able to do it on my own. To be honest I'm not sure my girls will be able to on camp, it is probably a bit big for them to roll alone but luckily my husband will be there to help as he is a leader. The size when rolled out is 198 x 63cm and as I mentioned the depth when inflated is 7.5cm. It weighs 2.6kg and packages into a 67 x 17.5cm pack. This retails for £39.99 on Outdoor World Direct and I think that is a really great price.

Next up, we have the sleeping bags -

Outwell Camper Lux Sleeping Bag - This is the most stunning sleeping bag ever, even I have agreed to sleep in it and it opens right up like a duvet which Miss M likes a lot. It is designed as a 3-4 seasons sleeping bag, tested at temperatures between +21 degrees C and -23 degrees C. It is big and luxurious, measuring 235 x  90cm. The black colour with green striped inner is really classy too. It has a polycotton outer, 100% cotton flannel inner lining and 1700g isofill centre which all combine to make it a great bag to sleep in. The construction is two layer offset which traps the warm air and stops cold air penetrating the bag.

There is an Easy Glide Zip System, which stops the zip getting trapped in the sleeping bag fabric and it has a full length zip baffle to stop cold air getting into the bag The heavy duty zips can be used to zip two bags together to make a double one and points inside the bag are available to attach a liner if you so wish. The hood has a built in pillow, which can also be detached if you want. There is as well a small pocket inside for storing valuables or essentials.

We found this bag quite different to others our family have used previously as it has a large square zipped carry bag, rather than a stuff sack. it was quite easy to get the sleeping bag back in thankfully but the pack size is 48 x 46 x 25cm, so it is quite a bit bigger when packed up than many sleeping bags and as such it might not be so great for Cub scout camping like we had first hoped.

However you might have got the idea that we love this bag and it is perfect for family camping and when you need a really warm and luxurious bag. We've used it quite a lot as a family since we received it as we have stayed with relatives and the kids have had to sleep on the floor. This sleeping bag teamed with the Coleman 7.5cm self-inflating mat make for a superb night's sleep. It retails for £59.99 currently.

Easycamp Devil 400 Sleeping Bag - This 3 season sleeping bag (shown above), tested at temperatures between +12 degrees C and -25 degrees C is a classic mummy shaped sleeping bag, measuring 210 x 80 (at chest) or 50cm (at feet end). The shell is 190T 100% polyester with a double layer, offset stitching construction. The lining is also 190T 100% polyester but brushed to be softer and more pleasant to snuggle up in and it has a Hollow Fibre Insulation (400g/m) and full length baffles on the zip to ensure the cold air cannot penetrate the bag. When put away in the included stuff bag the size of the sleeping bag is 45 x 24cm and it weighs just 1.75kg. All these features make it perfect for taking to Cub camp and Miss M has already set her heart on having this sleeping bag with her. She really likes the bright blue colour too.

This sleeping bag has proved to be a real hit with Miss M and she will use it at any opportunity. She has even asked if she can have it every night instead of her duvet, which made me smile and to be honest a sleeping bag is a lot easier to wash in the machine than a duvet!

I think this sleeping bag is a bargain at the cost of £34.99 for something that will last most all seasons of the year.

Look carefully at the photo below and you can see the Coleman mat and the Outwell Lux sleeping bag that the girls have been using for their frequent sleepovers in the dining room!

We have really enjoyed using the mats and sleeping bags inside and JJ gave the Vango mat the seal of approval when he was on camp but I'll report back again after the girls camp in late July and let you know how the other items fared in the mud, in a field in East Sussex! lol

Thanks so much for the fabulous products and your great service Outdoor World Direct. Once the order was placed and accepted I received confirmation and a DPD delivery number so I could track my delivery and it all arrived perfectly.There are various options for delivery, depending on how quickly you need your items and they are priced from £4.95 upwards.

There appears to be a reasonable returns procedure, with you having the option to change your mind and send items back as long as they are still in perfect sellable condition. Outdoor World Direct can arrange courier collection for the cost of £10 per box (bearing in mind many items are very bulky, I think this is good) or you can arrange your own return to them within 28 days.

But don't just trust me when I say that I'm a happy customer, you can check out Outdoor World Direct on Trust Pilot and see that they have a rating of 9.8 out of 10, which is superb.

Disclosure: We received these items free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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